A Slidell mother has filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice, accusing the agency of negligently releasing on a weekend break the teenager accused of stabbing her son to death last year.
Clayton James Maricle was on a weekend furlough from a group home when he began arguing with Nicholas Carman as they and three others walked along abandoned railroad tracks near Slidell on Nov. 30, 2014. The quarrel ended with Carman, 20, lying dead at the base of an embankment with at least 15 stab wounds.
Maricle, 17, was on an earned furlough from a group home in Branch, in Acadia Parish, where he was serving time for vehicle burglary.
Joseph Bruno, the New Orleans attorney representing the victim’s mother, Louise C. Carman, said he believes there was reason to not let Maricle out, even temporarily.
“We believe there was some information that he was not taking his medication and was a danger to other folks,” Bruno said. “There was some knowledge about enmity between these two folks, as well, which would have been a known cause for concern.”
Bruno filed a formal petition Nov. 24 for damages and is awaiting a response from Deputy Secretary Mary Livers and OJJ, he said Thursday afternoon.
The OJJ had no comment on the lawsuit Thursday, said Elizabeth Touchet-Morgan, an agency spokeswoman.
The furlough, which is designed for children to visit family and maintain a relationship with loved ones, is not “considered a release from commitment,” the suit says.
Bruno and his client accuse Livers and the state of negligence in their failure to follow furlough policy, failure to take Maricle’s medical and criminal history into account, and failure to monitor Maricle during the furlough.
St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain said the day after Nicholas Carman died that the men were looking for someone to sell them marijuana or mojo, a type of synthetic marijuana, when the fight occurred. What began as an argument quickly escalated, and Strain said the coroner’s report shows an initial nonfatal stab wound was followed by a flurry of more-serious wounds.
The Sheriff’s Office found Carman’s body 42 feet from the tracks and recovered the knife officials believe Maricle used to kill him.
Maricle’s aunt turned him in. A Slidell man also was booked on obstruction of justice and accused of helping Maricle dispose of evidence.